07/28/12 8:05 PM ET
Bobblehead honors Upton's broken-bat HR
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
On Sept. 19 of last season, the D-backs won a 1-0 game over the Pirates to reduce their magic number to four as Ian Kennedy earned his 20th victory of the season.
The sole run of the game came courtesy of an Upton broken-bat homer into the first row of the left-field bleachers for his 31st long ball of the year.
Upton drove a 3-0 fastball and his bat broke down near the handle. The MVP candidate was left holding the handle while the rest of it landed out near third base.
"I knew I had barreled the ball up," Upton said after the game. "I guess I hit it on the wrong part of the bat or the wrong side of the bat, I don't know what it was. I don't know if it was cracked before or whatnot. I have no clue how it happened to be honest with you. The ball just carried."
Ten months later, that moment took the form of a giveaway, as 20,000 fans at Chase Field walked away with a Justin Upton Broken Bat Home Run Bobblehead courtesy of Pepsi on Saturday.
"It's a cool concept the team came up with and it's exciting," Upton said. "It's not my best look out there, but it's cool."
With 98 other Major League home runs to his name entering Saturday, Upton still recalls that specific blast as one of his favorites.
"I would think so, just because it got Ian a big win and it was down the stretch," Upton said. "It makes it kind of a cool home run to remember."
The 24-year-old will keep a few of the bobbleheads for himself to give away to friends and family.
"If people ask for them, they get them," he said. "I usually get quite a few of them, so I usually give them to whoever wants them."
Bullpen has benefited from new additions
PHOENIX -- The D-backs entered Saturday winners of six of their first eight games during their 10-game homestand, and a large portion of the credit for their success is due to the bullpen's performance.
Since last Saturday, D-backs relievers have tossed 17 innings and allowed just two earned runs. Even more recently, the bullpen has given up just two hits in its last 11 innings.
"The bullpen has been exceptional," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They've shut them down. That's what you need, especially if you're behind. You want to make sure they hold them there and give you a chance to get back in the game. It forces the other team to do some things and it evens the tables."
Part of the success is due to the club mixing in fresh arms with the relievers who have been in the bullpen the entire season. Takashi Saito and Brad Bergesen, neither of whom appeared in a game this year before July 21, have combined to throw six innings without allowing an earned run.
"We've sent some guys down and got some new arms in, and it has switched things around," Gibson said. "I wouldn't say it's been continuous with the ingredients, but it really hasn't mattered. The guys have assumed whatever role we've asked."
Gibson keeping up to date on Deadline deals
PHOENIX -- As Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson continues to frequently speak with club executive vice president and general manager Kevin Towers to remain in the know as the team looks to bolster its postseason push.
"I talked to him a little last night; he's very busy, I know that," Gibson said. "It seems like those guys talk all the time. When he's around me, his phone rings all the time."
Aside from claiming relief pitcher Brad Bergesen off waivers from Baltimore, the only move the D-backs have made so far has been to trade Ryan Roberts to the Rays for a Minor Leaguer.
"I haven't talked to him a lot since then," Gibson said. "I think [Towers] has it in his own head that certain things can only happen if other things happen."
And whether the club does end up making any other transactions before the Deadline, Gibson knows a lot will be discussed behind closed doors without ever becoming serious.
"People just throw stuff out there," he said. "But what does it mean? It's just that time of year. A high, very high, percentage of the inquirers go nowhere."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.